Counter Questions


Q: Water is seeping underneath my glass countertop and causing ugly discoloration, and I’m thinking of replacing it. I hate granite and all its look-alikes, so I’m considering concrete — but have manufacturers come up with something even newer?
Estelle Ovitz, Elmsford

A: Unless your countertop is a sieve, it shouldn’t have water seeping underneath, so the problem is unlikely to be solved by switching to a different material. Art Bogue, a designer at Bilotta Kitchens, suggests it’s probably time to “raise a ruckus” with whoever did the installation – that’s the real cause of your problem.

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     Icestone countertop

 However, if you’re restless and want a replacement, there are several new(ish) options, most of them green as all get-out. Randy O’Kane, a senior designer at Bilotta, suggests that someone who went for glass might like IceStone, which is a mix of concrete and recycled glass. “It’s a great new material to most people,” she says. “It’s green – made in Brooklyn — and has a nice rainbow of colors to choose from.” It has a speckled look, and it’s very durable, although the seal may not withstand really hot pots. It also has to be resealed and waxed from time to time. IceStone will set you back about $200 a linear foot, installed. O’Kane is also enthusiastic about White Glassos, a crystallized glass that sounds just this side of indestructible — hard as granite, doesn’t stain, is resistant to abrasion, and takes high heat. “It has a sheen and a lot of depth, a little like marble,” she notes. As you’d expect from the name, it comes in white, as well as a less dazzling beige, and runs about $150 to $200 a linear foot.

PaperStone countertop


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PaperStone is made of (yes) recycled paper and cardboard, bonded in resin. “It’s a great green product, but it doesn’t have a varied vocabulary of color,” says O’Kane. “It’s just browns, maroons, blacks and there’s an ochre, but no white or pastels.” There are some daring deep shades, though, like plum, and the muted mottled appearance makes Leather, a tan, actually look like leather. PaperStone costs about $175 a linear foot.


Alkemi countertop


A Google search (which I was happy to undertake for you as you’re probably busy mopping your counter), turned up Alkemi, a material that looks like curled shavings of scrap aluminum embedded in resin, which is exactly what it is. It comes in colors like Natural and Elephant (silvery greys, like Bud can shavings), or Koi (a rather Vegas gold), as well as Lapis (a gorgeous blue) and some muted shades. It’s stain resistant and water repellant, but won’t stand up to hot pots.

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 EcoTop countertop


EcoTop (from the same earth-friendly company that makes PaperStone) is half recycled wood and paper, and half bamboo, also bound with petroleum-free resin. It’s super durable and comes in just about any color you want. O’Kane, who obligingly journeyed into Google-Land with me, wasn’t impressed, though, declaring it “a bit flat.”


Suberra countertop


Suberra, which has been called “the un-granite” because it’s so … un-granite-y, is made of material left over from the production of bottle stoppers (aka cork). It’s tough, lightweight, stain resistant, heat resistant, easy to install, with a warm, tactile surface that supposedly feels almost like suede, if you’re into stroking your counters. Not only that, but microbe-phobes will be pleased about its natural anti-microbial properties. Prices for materials that have yet to show up in Westchester aren’t available, although it looks like Suberra and EcoTop are less costly than Alkemi.

Patinated copper countertop



Finally, patinated copper isn’t new, but it’s beautiful and back in vogue, according to O’Kane. It’s a soft metal, so not for those who can’t live with imperfections. “And if you clean it too heartily, you get that shiny penny look,” she warns. Speaking of pennies, copper costs 30,000 of them a linear foot (that’s $300 to the arithmetically challenged.)


Randy O’Kane
Senior designer
Bilotta Kitchens

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